5 Advertising Ideas for Small Business That will Deliver!

Advertising Ideas for Small Business
Advertising is essential for success and survival of your small business, especially in present day market, where there is immense competition among small businesses; research suggests that back in 2010 there were around 125 million small businesses in 132 economies globally [1].

Coming to the stats regarding small medium businesses popping up in US, it's 116 each hour and that exclude online starts up plus partial startups [2].

Clearly these facts suggests that there is immense competition out there in the market, not to mention that due to rare success of new products/services, majority of these businesses tends to be similar, in other words metoo’s.

So now the question is, how Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners should tackle this ?! Clearly there are many ways to tackle such situation but in context of small business you don’t have many options, primarily due to small budget, limited resources.

So in that situation you are left with few options like advertising, branding to make your brand stand out from the rest.

Okay before giving you the five advertising ideas that you can utilize to get your brand stand out int the crowd. I think, since I have mentioned branding, I should give you guys a practical approach on how to do the whole branding thing on your own.

Yes!, on your own, so the cost will be minimum and the result will be maximum, making your brand stand out from the rest.

Read this extensive article on branding, Learn When & How to brand effectively.

5 Super Cool Advertising Ideas for Small Business

Coming back to five advertising ideas, here is the number one

Idea 1: Print Advertising (excluding print ads in newspapers)

Print advertising & Small Business

Well this is my most favorite one, first it is way too cheap second the results it delivers over time are immense, I have been doing print advertising for my own business and to be honest if you stick with it, learn to make some really cool print ads (leaflets, booklets, brochures etc).

You can really make your brand stand out in the crowd. Newspaper is a good option but I excluded it because of the cost it involves, which most of the time small businesses esp. news one can't afford.

Just remember though, don’t follow the mainstream when it comes to any form of advertising that means when mainstream is doing one thing, like using vibrant colors in their ads, you should experiment with something without colors, if they are using brand slogans, logos all over their print ads for instance

You should try using logos in a different way like tiny tiny logos or half logos and ask customers to guess the other half or using logos in unusual way, just think outside the box and way different slogans, why I am asking you to be different ? 

The simple reason is, due to immense advertising clutter and homogeneity of advertising, consumer takes little to no interest in advertising (this is coming from research), with target customer response rate just around 1% [3][4][5][6]

That means you really need to be different!

For more on why print advertising for your small business read this interesting article which will absolutely convince you why it is so important, effective in delivering desired results with almost no cost.

Here “What Is the Best Marketing Strategy for Newly Started Small Business”.

And in case you want to clear your mind from the doubts or questions like does advertising really work, how does it works, is there any science behind advertising and consumer purchasing decision ? etc you should read this article  "Does Advertising Actually Work ? If so, How exactly ?!!"

Idea 2: Advertising through Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM)

This is another cheap, cost-less but way too effective option available to advertise your brand, small business. 

To achieve immense word of mouth advertising via customer, all you need [according to a scientific research] is to extremely satisfy your customers and they will do immense word of mouth advertising in return[7].

You can do that by giving freebies to couple of customers (esp. customers with high life time value) once in a while or giving them something that will result in extreme satisfaction.

Again just think outside of the box!

This strategy might cost you in the short run but the benefits worth it, like 
  • brand exposure, awareness, 
  • mindshare or top of the mind awareness brand, 
  • Increase in sales etc
  • to differentiate your brand from the rest, 
  • to make your brand stand out in the clutter, 
  • to make a story that is retold over and over by your customers.

Remember, Customer WOM is extremely important in the case of services because they imply a greater perceived risk than do goods. Services lack the opportunity of observation and trial before a purchase and thus involve a greater risk of making a wrong buying decision. Encountering this increased risk and uncertainty associated with services, consumers seek advice from trustworthy sources before adopting a service [8].

For more interesting actionable insight on WOMM read this article Word of Mouth Marketing: 20 Shocking Facts, once you read this article, you will surely find a lot many things from WOMM perspective to advertise your small business brand, guaranteed!!!

Idea 3: Social Media Marketing (Advertising) 

Talking about social media marketing or advertising, it is more likely that just like in majority cases it is used for increasing brand awareness, increasing mind share etc, your business too won’t be able to take any other benefit unless you start selling online.

The best thing about social media advertising is that it is almost absolutely free and it works and is manageable.

As for as results are concerned, it takes time so you have to be patient, perseverance is key here, now some people start by making social media accounts on all available social media sites and tries to utilize them as much as possible.

In the beginning it is easy to do that but when your business starts producing results and things start getting more sophisticated/complex due to growth, it is there when things start getting hard, burn outs replaces the joy...

Plus in the beginning it might be too overwhelming for you to manage all these accounts, that’s why I will suggest to start with three platforms at maximum instead of using maximum social media platforms possible.

Before starting of with a social media strategy, remember to keep your goals, product/service type in mind, if it is to sell products/services then you would need a different platform.

And if it is to increase brand awareness, mind share, to achieve top of the mind awareness etc then you would need something different, so it all depends on what you want to achieve in the long run.

Usually most businesses start with Twitter, Facebook, Gplus which I think are more than sufficient options, these three are far more than enough to get the word out about your brand, to increase mind share etc.

Though for instance if you are dealing in pictures, paintings, art etc then there are some other social media platforms that you might want to try like Pininterest, Craft Gawker, Dribbles, Dudepins etc so again like I said it depends on what your goals, type of product/service are.

Idea 4: Advertising Via Blogging

Advertising via blogging

Blogging is another way to get steady stream of (constantly growing) traffic consequently achieving advertising goals like brand exposure, more mind share etc, here you advertise with your creativity, your knowledge, know-how about your brand, about the products/services.

Here you start by blogging about things that not only matters to your target audience but to your brand too, the objectives are somewhat similar to that of social media, if I say it is taking social media to next level then I won’t be wrong.

The stupid thing that most of small business owners do when they utilize this medium for advertising their brand is they target all the available relevant keywords under the sun, thus wasting a lot more time and resources because that doesn’t work, will never work.

YES IT WILL NEVER WORK! I am emphasizing on this, to stop you from doing it or even thinking about doing it because you will regret it badly later on, yes there are exceptions though but you shouldn't hope to be or try to be one of those exceptions, unless you are really really REALLY SURE!

So yes, in the beginning it might seem reasonable rather quite alluring to target all relevant keywords and hoping that organic traffic will pour in the long run but in reality it never happens.

It never happens because those short keywords are taken by big online giants with whom you can't compete unless you are willing to spend a great wealth and time, what it means is, you can't!!!

By great wealth I mean like spending millions of dollars on SEO ?!! can you afford that ? well if you can then stop reading this post, because you don't need it, you  can advertise all the heck ways you want!!! ;p

Long Tail Keywords

So what should you do ? Simple target long tail keywords, because these are the keywords that have little to no competition and its easy to rank for it in search engines search results page.

Plus it does deliver, so if you put in like 6 month of constant effort in long tail keywords, you will see some healthy results.

What I call long tail keywords are keywords with at least 4 words in it and make sure by searching at different search engines that those long phrases are not used in titles/url of any article, if they aren’t then you have a good chance rather a sure chance to rank for that phrase.

Once you start ranking for that one long tail phrase, it is more likely that you will also rank for any other related variations, so you will have substantial organic traffic in the end. 

Here is my little proof from google webmaster tools for just one day, I rank for all the following keywords and I have written just couple of quality articles. yeah just a couple!!!

long tail strategy works like hell

The articles I wrote on long tail keywords are

1. 42 Interesting facts about advertising in America
2. Customer Complaints: 5 Major types that you must know!

I get like 1500-2000 organic traffic hits for just these two articles daily and just imagine when you put up like 100 such articles, targeting long tail keywords!!!

So go for it, don't waste a second!!!

Though just make sure you write some really quality stuff on that long phrase. That means research that long tail or long phrase keyword for several hours, researching relevant and highly valuable content and then putting it up in a nice cool blog post or article form.

Yes, there is likely hood that your business niche might be boring, thus target audience takes little to no interest in what you write about it, but you can change that by being creative, using your own imagination and trying bringing fun to your content by making it super cool.

So use your imagination, think of ways to make your content more exciting, more appealing to your target audience.

In case you don't know how to find long tail keywords, how to do this whole thing in a way that will give you the long tail keywords that have lowest competition but healthy monthly traffic, read this post by the Guru Neil Patel, How to generate 20k Visitors through Long Tail Keywords.

Influencer Marketing

One more thing, to get more out of blogging for your business, to get more exposure, reach of your brand to your target audience is to use influencer marketing, where you identify the important people in your business niche and then slowly steadily making relationship with them (by sharing their work, by sharing your comments, thoughts, ideas on their content etc) arousing their interest enough to take look at your content and share them with the huge audience they have.

By utilizing these couple of approaches (Long tail keyword + Influencer Marketing) you can achieve all of your blogging goals in the long run and when I say long run, I mean six months to one year.

So that’s how you can utilize blogging to advertise your small business.

Idea 5: Advertising by Making Items etc with Your Brand slogan, Logo, Product Picture on it

This one works pretty good especially if you really want to invest one time in advertisement, like not advertising for the whole year then or maybe couple of years.

What you need to do is to make certain items in bulk like coffee mugs, tea cups, water glasses, calendars, wall clocks etc and put your brand slogan, logo, item information or picture on it.

Then giving these items as gifts/freebies to specific high life time value customers, like giving it to white collar customer whom will use such things in their work cabins, offices etc, giving it to school, colleges, NGO’s etc I mean where ever you find the right place to place such items.

By the right place I mean, that you are sure that place/person with such an item will achieve your desired advertising goals to a reasonable extent, if you are sure about that, go for it.

The items will be used for years and you will get a constant brand exposure, awareness, mind share plus you won’t need to do it over and over, yes you might need to do it if you want go to new market segment or want to target a new region but that isn’t equal to doing it in the same place.

Remember THE VERY FIRST RULE, don't follow the mainstream in advertising!


Now the question is, should you follow all these five advertising ideas for your small business or should you choose a couple or just one ?

Well, honestly I think you should follow all these five ideas if you can, because the results worth it, in case you can’t then follow the first one, second one and the fifth one.

You will achieve your desired advertising goals by following just those three but you won’t achieve the maximum, so if you want to achieve the maximum, go for all the five ideas. 

Lastly here is an article that gives some really interesting actionable insights into advertising (in US).

Over to you guys, please don't forget to subscribe ;)


1.      http://www.ifc.org/msmecountryindicators

2.      Small Business by the Numbers (Washington DC: Small Business Administration, 2004)

3.      McDonnell, F. (2005), “Integrating word of mouth marketing”, paper presented at the International Word-of-mouth Marketing Conference, 6-7 October, Hamburg, in Andres, N. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 1st International Word-of-Mouth Marketing Conference, Brand Science Institute, Hamburg, Germany.

4.      Nielsen (2007), “Trust in advertising, a global Nielsen consumer report”, October, available at: www.nielsen.com/solutions/TrustinAdvertisingOct07.pdf

5.      MacInnis, Deborah J., Christine Moorman, and Bernard J. Jaworski (1991), "Enhancing and Measuring Consumers Motivation, Opportunity, and Ability to Process Brand Information From Ads," Journal of Marketing, 4 (October), 32-53.

6.      Data Mining for Direct Marketing : Problems & Solutions by Charles X. Ling & Chenghui Li

7.      Anderson, E.W. (1998), “Customer satisfaction and word of mouth”, Journal of Service Research, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 5-17.

8.    Impact of service pricing on referral behavior Christian Barrot, Jan U. Becker and Jannik Meyners Ku¨ hne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany.

About Publisher Arshad Amin

Certified SEO Professional, Small Business, Start-up, Marketing Expert with ton's of practical, actionable ideas, insights to share, Proud Founder and Owner of www.easymarketinga2z.com and www.topexpertsa2z.com

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